From TheGreatMambino, Silver Screen & Roll: In just two weeks, the Dwightmare could reach it’s highest peak. That’s when Lakers center Dwight Howard will officially become a free agent, available to be courted by whomever has the will and the wherewithal to sign the three-time Defensive Player of the year to a maximum contract. Lakers Nation seems to be split on whether or not Howard, one of the most polarizing players of his era on and off the court, is truly worth the money and trouble that seem to follow him wherever he goes. Let’s take the pulse of Silver Screen & Roll:
From Dan Duangdao, Lakers Nation: Metta World Peace, a.k.a Ron Artest, joined a local Houston radio station on Monday to discuss a typical day in the off-season, his thoughts on LeBron James’ play in the Finals so far and Dwight Howard’s impending free-agency. When asked about Dwight Howard’s plans this off-season, World Peace quickly dismissed any possibilities of Howard going to Houston: “Well, he’s not going to Houston. I’ll tell you that.” The Houston Rockets are one of the rumored teams Dwight Howard is interested in as they enough cap room to sign him and a young core centered around James Harden, Chandler Parsons and Omer Asik. Regardless of what the Rockets have to offer, World Peace remained confident with his response and further explained his reasoning the only way Ron Artest knew how to: “The bulls that you bullfight…those things that you tie those things to the bulls that make them go crazy? I got two of those things tied to Dwight Howard’s t——–, so he can’t move.”
From Eric Pincus, LA Times: The Lakers’ final non-Mike D’Antoni assistant coach left over the weekend as Darvin Ham joined the Atlanta Hawks under Coach Mike Budenholzer. “Darvin has a great feel for the game and knows what it takes for a team to be successful and compete at a high level,” Budenholzer said in a prepared statement. “He was a smart player who played with intensity and toughness every night and he has gone about coaching the same way.” Dan D’Antoni, brother to Coach Mike D’Antoni, is the only holdover from last season after the Lakers let both Chuck Person and Bernie Bickerstaff go. Phil Handy joined Mike Brown’s staff in Cleveland, while Eddie Jordan took the head position at Rutgers.
From Brett Pollakoff, Pro Basketball Nation: Phil Jackson is unquestionably one of the greatest coaches of all time, but he didn’t get there by placating people or considering the feelings of others — especially those with seniority or who were holding down a higher-level position within the organization. Speaking at an event last week where Jackson was plugging his latest book, he recalled the time he asked then Lakers general manager Jerry West — also one of the franchise’s all-time great players — to leave the locker room so Jackson and the team could be alone to dissect the night’s troubles in private.
From Dan Devine, Yahoo Sports: Kobe Bryant has ranked among the most popular players in the NBA for more than 15 years now, as his legendary scoring prowess, on- and off-court charisma, affiliation with the glamorous Los Angeles Lakers and near-constant exposure to massive audiences through nationally televised games and deep playoff runs have combined to make him one the sports world’s highest-profile figures. He’s also donequite a bit of work over the years to extend his mega-star status into the massive and hoops-mad nation of China — he’s made annual offseason trips there to meet fans and host camps, and appeared in commercials airing in the nation. He’s participated in exhibition charity games and even reportedly briefly entertained the idea of playing in China during the 2011 NBA lockout. He’s built a Chinese social media presence and launched multiple charitable initiatives in the Far East. And so on.